Many patients have been calling our office with questions and concerns about if they have Covid-19. Below is relevant as of March 17, 2020
Change in COVID-19 testing
Our new guidelines for testing can be found on the BCCDC COVID-19 Care Lab Testing website. These guidelines are based on prioritization of symptomatic patients for whom testing will change our management of a person who presents with symptoms, the course of a real or a potential outbreak, and our understanding of the epidemiology of the pandemic itself.
Who should be tested?
Persons who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized, residents of long-term care facilities, persons who are part of a cluster or outbreak investigation, and health care workers.
Who should not be tested?
Patients without symptoms. The exception is healthcare workers with COVID-19 who require a negative test after symptom resolution to return to work, and patients with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home (including returning travellers).
Specific information regarding testing algorithms, swab collection, and laboratory requisitions are available on this website and have been distributed to your regional health authorities.
Online self-assessment tool
In addition, as more members of the public and patients become concerned that they may have symptoms related to COVID-19, including people who are self-isolating after returning from international travel, we are looking at innovative ways to decrease demand on hospital switchboards, private physician offices, and HealthLink BC. Tomorrow, the Minister and I will be publicly announcing an Online Self-Assessment Tool and directing people to the tool on the BCCDC website. You are welcome to post a link to this self-assessment tool on your own public facing websites and through standard communication channels.
Thank you for your all that you are doing during this difficult and evolving situation. We will be providing more frequent updates to physicians, so please continue to check your email and visit the BCCDC website regularly.
Bonnie Henry, MD
Provincial Health Officer
Office of the PHO
Ministry of Health